This grilled halloumi cheese is a quick and easy appetizer, perfect for a small gathering. Served with a red chilli and honey dressing or a smoked cranberry sauce, it is delicious and oh so simple.
In fact you hardly need a recipe for this one (but I'll give you one anyway 😀 ) Griddle some delicious chunks of halloumi and then dress them! To coin a famous cooks phrase. "How easy is that?"
So how do you grill halloumi?
Firstly you don't need to add any oil. The cheese will naturally crisp up because of the fats in it.
Secondly cut the cheese into approximately ⅓ inch thick slices (1 cm), this ensures the cheese will not split into smaller chunks when you cook it.
Lastly cook. Heat the grill or grill pan or heavy based fry pan to a medium heat and add your cheese. Don't move it about! Just let it cook for 3 minutes and then carefully turn it and cook for a further 2-3.
Remove from the grill, garnish and serve straight away. Grilled Halloumi is best when still hot/warm.
The deliciousness of this grilled halloumi cheese comes from the amazing transformation you get when you grill halloumi. It goes from a hard squeaky cheese to something soft and almost velveteen in texture, but with enough bite to hold it's shape.
Because grilled halloumi needs to be eaten warm I don't suggest this dish for a crowd, the recipe below will serve 4 (or 6 if you serve it as a pre-dinner nibble). It doesn't take much longer to cook the quantity of cheese needed for a crowd, but to serve 20 people before the cheese cools is just an added stress!
Better to save this grilled halloumi cheese for small gatherings and pick a easier party canapé for you large gatherings. Something like my sheet pan potato frittata, which can be made in advance and served at room temperature, or my selection of super simple smoked salmon appetizers, which look sensational but use a handful of supermarket ingredients.
But if you have a couple of friends coming for dinner, or want a simple appetizer for Valentine's day. Then this grilled halloumi cheese is perfect!
I have introduced several friends to grilled halloumi, or told them about it and the question I get asked most is....
What do I serve with Grilled Halloumi?
I have several grilled halloumi recipes coming soon. Recipes that make Halloumi the star! But as a quick guide I always like to add something sweet to balance the salty cheese, or something sharp to cut through the richness. Think grilled fruit; watermelon is perfect!!!! As are stone fruits like peaches and plums. Or go for the sweet sharp taste of pomegranate.
Or add it to a dish with some sweet roasted peppers, again the sweetness is so delicious with the salty cheese.
Simply grilled halloumi served with a sliced tomato salad, lemon juice dressing and fresh basil is the perfect summer lunch! (I am drooling!!!)
But today for this grilled halloumi appetizer, I have two delicious topping options.
Chilli and honey or Smoked cranberry: The chilli and honey dressing is spiked with lime which cuts through the rich cheese wonderfully, whilst the smoked cranberry sauce is sweet (and smoky) which compliments the salty nature of the grilled cheese.
Grilled halloumi is so delicious and the colours are beautiful, I do hope you give it a go.
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Grilled Halloumi Cheese - Served 2 Ways
- 9 oz Halloumi cheese some packets are 8oz that is fine too!
- 3 sprigs of fresh mint
For the Honey and Chilli dressing (makes enough for all the cheese)
- 2 small red chillies
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 1 lime
For the Smoked Cranberry dressing (makes enough for all the cheese)
- 3 tablespoon cranberry jelly/sauce
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
Start by making your chosen dressing.
For the Honey and chilli dressing
- Finely chop the red chilli.
- Mix the chopped chilli together with the honey and the juice of the lime.
- Set aside until needed. (don't refrigerate)
For the smoked cranberry dressing
- Mix the cranberry jelly and liquid smoke together in a small bowl.
- Set aside until needed. (don't refrigerate)
To grill the halloumi
- Cut the halloumi into 8 thick slices. Then cut each slice in half.
- Heat the grill or grill pan or heavy based fry pan to a medium heat.
- Add the halloumi slices and cook untouched for 3 minutes.
- Turn the halloumi and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from the grill and drizzle with your prepared dressing.
- Serve immediately.
The Smoked Cranberry dressing adds 16kcal and 4g carbs per serving.
Grilled Halloumi Cheese Anecdote (aka my recipe ramble for those who love the waffle)
Got to love a cheese recipe where you can cook the cheese and not end up with a melted mess!!!!!
Grilled Halloumi cheese is a bit of a late nineties/early naughties dish. I think in the UK it was made popular by the likes of Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver. You would see it on pub menus, tossed through salads. And to be honest it was always a disappointment. The cheese would be squeaky and there was never enough of it to make a big bowl of salad feel like lunch. Pass me the fish and chips in a basket and leave the salad in the kitchen!
But when it is done well it is just sooooo good. So after a delicious grilled halloumi dish at a friends house I was determined to make it myself.
In my early 20's I then went through a halloumi phase....everyone who visited was subjected to my various grilled halloumi recipes! HA! Sorry friends! Especially those who weren't cheese fans....actually I don't think I am friends with any cheese haters.....probably because hating cheese would just be weird!!!!
I have calmed down over the years 😉 And developed more recipes so I have a bit of variety when friends come for dinner!!!!
Although one of my kids favourite lunches is grilled halloumi and tomato salad......A throw back to the pub days??? But a whole lot better!
Enjoy your grilled halloumi xx